Okay, so I played God of War Anscension Multiplayer Beta. I like it, sometimes I even love it.
My gripes with the game so far is balancing. I mean:
Zeus' Sword is pretty overpowered for a multiplayer fighting game. I know what you're thinking: "It's Zeus's sword, what'd you expect?" Funny you should say that, because Athena is another "legend" in the God of War series whom wields some devastating powers. With this thinking, I would expect this lady's weapons to be pretty powerful - on Zeus' level. But no, Zeus's sword, if you know how to use it well - it's pretty overpowered, especially when it's upgraded. The vertical and horizontal special effects are visually awesome, but when you get hit by it as a player, you can't really escape it once hit. Otherwise, there's a "warning" sign before each attack.
By overpowered I mean by damage taken, speed of movement, and radius. In fact, how far the sword "attacks" or touches your character is pretty far - you can attack someone from at least 2 or 3 meters away and be able to knock him to the other side of the map. This is even more overpowered if the player knows how to use the directional analogue stick to knock you all the way outside of the map.
I also found that some upgrades are a little too much for my tastes. I mean, I was in a match with a player that had a really fast fighting style - not sure the weapon or "god power" that was being used, but I do know this player used a lot of combos because of the responsive controls of the weapon. You can basically win the match with the speedy weapon without worrying about how much life you have left as the player with this weapon.
I don't like this "invincibility" power that one of the players I fought was using. His character was constantly bright, like a sore thumb. I couldn't stop him in his tracks unless he's doing something to another player. "Kick him while he's down" holds true here, that's it's only vulernability, but I still found it a lil overpowered.
The game needs more moves, and more combo variety, I thought that the controls were good, but it needed a little bit more polish. Hopefully the new God of War Ascension Multiplayer beta is better than the one I played recently (the E3 demo/beta). I also want to play the single player demo, too!
- I quite like the "quick play" selection. At times, I felt like I was ascending from 4 players matchmaking, to 8 players matchmaking. It felt like a single player game with that setup.
- While I think mixing new players with "veteran" players is a little intimidating to the end-player/end-gamer, I feel it's necessary to bring out the best players in the game. I hope this is not changed and a separate game mode is designed for level (3) to level (3) matchmaking. Same level matchmaking, yes.
- In this build of the beta, I found a few bugs that shouldn't have been in the beta in the first place: Player quits, model stays in the lobby. Lobby leaderboard stays stuck in front of your screen with no way out of that leaderboard while the game is playing in the background. FIX THIS! I had to quit the game or reset the game in order to get back into the groove.
- God of War Ascension needs an "interrupt" special or super move to interrupt players with powerful weapons such as the Zeus weapon described above, and multiple players. You might be asking what I mean by multiple players; I've come across a few situations where I was stuck in the corner and at least 2, 3 or 4 players came at me all at once to make it easy to kill me. This needs a balancing tweak. I thought the other players were being a bunch of trolls or a bunch of friends trying to be jerks.
Other than that, I LOVE the ranking system. The awards system is great, too! Getting points for KillStreak 3 to 5 times over in the same match? Hell yeah, that was badass. It makes Call of Duty look like an afterthought. Take this from long-time Call of Duty player that started with COD2, but dived into the Call of Duty game at COD4.
Ring outs 3 to 5 times in the same match? Or Justice. Or Favor of the Gods 3 matches in a row? All of that: GREAT! Whoever designed this system needs a #@^&ing raise!
Gaining new weapons, and upgrading them is a great idea. Building on the God of War formula, this system is taken to a whole new level for multiplayer to create a Super Smash Bros. killer. I didn't understand the PlayStation All Stars "copy and paste" game, because honestly, the controls are a little awkward. The engine is modified from Smash Bros in the first place, but Ascension takes this idea to a whole new level and brings along with it Sony's own innovations. Great Job, Santa Monica!
I've loved your games since God of War, but Ascension seems like a great multiplayer title so far!
You make some valid points about Ascended, especially you stating it should be a multiplayer game. I feel like they are milking Kratos to get more money, instead of just closing the series with God of War III. The God of War Ascended takes place six months after the deaths of his wife and daughter. You can learn that from the first God of War. If I was Santa Monica, I would focus on making another God of War story such as an Egyptian God of War, or the Norse God of War, Chinese, etc. I would love them to do different mythologies of different cultures besides Sparta. It can still be the same gameplay, but different mythologies. They can take lessons from the Assassin's Creed franchise and start branching out.
I agree with the "more combos" idea, but there is a sh** ton of things that need to be fixed first (balance-wise).
I disagree with your Zeus' blade argument, though. That move is incredibly easy to dodge, despite it's wide range. The Gladiator Hammer is much more bothersome, as its L1+Triangle is pretty much broken.